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Interview:
Yes affirmative about new singer, new music
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Another year, another new singer for Yes -- or at least that's how it seems at times.

The veteran British progressive rock group first lost founding frontman Jon Anderson to health issues in 2005, then controversially replaced him with Benoit David, who sang in a Montreal-based Yes tribute band. Then, after recording Yes' 2011 album "Fly From Here," David also contracted a respiratory illness, leading Yes to bring on Jon Davison of the Nashville group Glass Hammer.

Guitarist Steve Howe says that Davison is "doing fantastic" but acknowledges that it's been a turbulent period in the group's nearly 45-year history. "It's hard on the audience," Howe, 65, notes. "I's hard on us. But the proof is in the pudding; Jon's great, making a lovely time for Yes, to have the chemistry so well-established."

And bassist Chris Squire, Yes' sole constant member, adds that having fresh music to perform with "Fly From Here" also buoys the band's spirits.

"It's been a long time since we've been out there playing new material, and we have really enjoyed doing that," he says. "Of course, we still enjoy plying the Yes standards as well, but it's great to have a bit of a challenge and to pull off new material. We don't want to be an oldies act."

Both Yes men say there's an appetite to get more new material in motion, but it wont necessarily come soon. Squire recently released the first album by Squackett, his side project with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, while Howe and current Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes will be on the road this fall with their other band, Asia, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary and a new album, "XXX." Howe -- who also released a solo album called "Time" this year -- in particular feels that Yes "wasn't really as ready to make a record as we thought we were" with "Fly From Here," which he says will factor into what the group does next.

"I would say (a new album) is blowing in the wind," Howe says, "but I don't want to put out something just to feel like it's a follow-up record. I went it to feel like an opportunity to do a style of music, a certain project, an adventure.

"I don't think we're there yet at all, so I think it'll take a long time to be ready for another record -- which is fine so long as it serves the purpose of making a better album."

Yes and Procol Harum perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $40-$75 pavilion only. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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